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Release Date: October 10, 2014 (Limited and VOD)
Director: Tommy Wirkola
MPAA Rating: R

When crafting a horror sequel, everything generally needs to be bolder, louder and more excessive. Tommy Wirkola, director of Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead, must have taken this to heart because this is a sequel that eclipses the original in almost every regard. Playing out much more like a gory action/comedy, rather than a horror/comedy like the original, Wirkola cranks everything up to 11, and delivers one of the craziest, nauseating and most brazen zombie films I’ve ever seen.

The film picks up directly after the events of the first Dead Snow, with Martin (Vegar Hoel) awaking in a hospital room surrounded by police. In addition to realizing the authorities believe he is responsible for the death of his friends and not a legion of undead Nazis, he also discovers the medical team attached a zombie arm to him after he cut off his own.

Martin realizes this new zombie arm gives him great power: super strength and the ability to make the dead rise. On the Nazi side of things, even after the evil zombie Herzog (Ørjan Gamst) gets his gold back, he decides to amass an even larger army and attempt to complete the mission he failed so many decades ago.

From the beginning, Dead Snow 2 lets you know this entry will carry a slightly more ridiculous and outrageous tune than the original. The comedy is more direct and on the nose, and the level of gore is off the charts. If you want to see a group of zombies rip someone’s intestines from their body in order to use them to siphon gas into a tank, which they will then use to run over children, then you’re in luck.

While not all of the comedy works, and some of it feels too heavy handed, I was laughing consistently throughout. Many of those laughs were the uncomfortable (e.g., “I know I shouldn’t be laughing at this but I am”), so it will not be for everyone.  One scene in particular involves a performance of CPR gone awry, which had me rolling.

The makeup and gore effects were other elements that got overhauled in Dead Snow 2. There are at least twice as many zombies and a nearly unending barrage of torn limbs, disembowelment, heads being crushed, and just about any other piece of carnage one could imagine. Many of these effects were done practically, which always deserves bonus points, especially when they look this good. An actual military tank was used throughout a large portion of the film as well, so there’s a fair amount of destruction and explosions that add to the insanity.

One of the only flaws with the movie happens to be within the plot of the film itself.  When Martin discovers the zombies are planning an attack, he contacts three Americans, played by Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer and Ingrid Haas, who fancy themselves zombie hunters. These characters add almost nothing to the story and felt completely unnecessary. For the most part, they were unfunny, and during the moments where the groups split up, I found myself sighing every time the perspective left Martin and returned to the Americans.

Fortunately, this misstep wasn’t enough to detract too much from the overall craziness and fun that Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead has to offer. It’s a film that doesn’t even begin to take itself seriously and seems to be continuously trying to one-up itself in the shock and gore factor. It succeeds at doing so. This is a silly film that revels in its over-the-top gore and is a must-see for anyone up for another zombie movie.

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